Garland Announces DOJ Lawsuit Over Texas Abortion Law

Latest Video

The DOJ sues Texas, looks to block the state’s restrictive abortion law

By Ben Burke (Producer)

In an attempt to block Texas Senate Bill 8, the abortion law that took effect last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday the Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the state. The video above shows clips from Garland’s announcement.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Texas, asks a federal judge to declare that the law is invalid, “to enjoin its enforcement, and to protect the rights that Texas has violated.”

SB8 prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is usually around six weeks into pregnancy. It also leaves enforcement of the law to private citizens through civil lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutors.

“Among other things, SB8 conflicts with federal law by prohibiting federal agencies from exercising their authorities and carrying out their responsibilities under federal laws relating to abortion services,” Garland said in the announcement. “It also subjects federal employees and non-governmental partners who implement those laws to civil liability and penalties.”

Despite being “clearly unconstitutional under long-standing Supreme Court precedent” according to Garland, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 refusing to block the Texas abortion law allowing it to stand. “Texas does not dispute that its statute violates Supreme Court precedent.,” Garland said. “Instead, the statute includes an unprecedented scheme to, in the chief justice’s words, quote, ‘insulate the state from responsibility’, close quote.”

The Justice Department argues the Texas abortion law unlawfully infringes on the constitutional rights of women. “It is settled constitutional law that ‘a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,” the lawsuit reads. “But Texas has done just that.”

“Thus far, the law has had its intended effect, because the statute makes it too risky for an abortion clinic to stay open, abortion providers have ceased providing services,” Garland said. “This leaves women in Texas unable to exercise their constitutional rights and unable to obtain judicial review at the very moment they need it.”

Federal officials are also concerned other states could enact similar laws. “If another state uses the same kind of provisions to deprive citizens of their constitutional rights and in particular to deprive their citizens of the ability to seek immediate review, we will bring the same kind of lawsuit,” Garland said.

Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General: “Last week, after the Supreme Court allowed Texas Senate bill 8 to take effect, I said that the Justice Department was evaluating all options to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons. Today, after a careful assessment of the facts and the law, the Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the State of Texas. Our position is set out in detail in our complaint, its basis is as follows.”

“Texas does not dispute that its statute violates Supreme Court precedent. Instead, the statute includes an unprecedented scheme to, in the chief justice’s words, quote, insulate the state from responsibility, close quote. It does not rely on the state’s executive branch to enforce the law, as is the norm in Texas and everywhere else. Rather, the statute deputizes all private citizens without any showing of personal connection or injury to serve as bounty hunters, authorized to recover at least 10,000 dollars per claim from individuals who facilitate a woman’s exercise of her constitutional rights.”

“The obvious and expressly acknowledged intention of this statutory scheme is to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights by thwarting judicial review for as long as possible. Thus far, the law has had its intended effect, because the statute makes it too risky for an abortion clinic to stay open, abortion providers have ceased providing services. This leaves women in Texas unable to exercise their constitutional rights and unable to obtain judicial review at the very moment they need it.”

“The United States also brings the suit to assert other federal interests that SB-8 unconstitutionally impairs. Among other things, S-B8 conflicts with federal law by prohibiting federal agencies from exercising their authorities and carrying out their responsibilities under federal laws relating to abortion services. It also subjects federal employees and non-governmental partners who implement those laws to civil liability and penalties.”

“The United States also seeks a permanent and preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of the statute against the state of Texas, including against the state’s officers, employees and agents and private parties it has effectively deputized who would bring suit under SB-8.”

“The Department of Justice has a duty to defend the Constitution of the United States and to uphold the rule of law. Today, we fulfill that duty by filing the lawsuit I have just described.”

“A risk here, the greater risk here, the additional and further risk here is that other states will follow similar models with respect not only to this constitutional right, but theoretically against any constitutional right and in any other state. So if another state uses the same kind of provisions to deprive citizens of their constitutional rights and in particular to deprive their citizens of the ability to seek immediate review, we will bring the same kind of lawsuit.”

“The Department of Justice does not file lawsuits based on pressure. We carefully evaluated the law and the facts, and this complaint expresses our view about the law and the facts.”

Comments are still pending approval. Rate this story to add your own thoughts below.

Comments are still pending approval. Rate this story to add your own thoughts below.

Comments are still pending approval. Rate this story to add your own thoughts below.

Comments are still pending approval. Rate this story to add your own thoughts below.

lock

Watch the video to unlock rating

Your Rating

Rating closes in 4 days

Total User Rating

eye icon

Rate to reveal

Community ratings are revealed after you rate the story.

comment bubbles

In an attempt to block Texas Senate Bill 8, the abortion law that took effect last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday the Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the state. The video above shows clips from Garland’s announcement.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Texas, asks a federal judge to declare that the law is invalid, “to enjoin its enforcement, and to protect the rights that Texas has violated.”

SB8 prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is usually around six weeks into pregnancy. It also leaves enforcement of the law to private citizens through civil lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutors.

“Among other things, SB8 conflicts with federal law by prohibiting federal agencies from exercising their authorities and carrying out their responsibilities under federal laws relating to abortion services,” Garland said in the announcement. “It also subjects federal employees and non-governmental partners who implement those laws to civil liability and penalties.”

Despite being “clearly unconstitutional under long-standing Supreme Court precedent” according to Garland, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 refusing to block the Texas abortion law allowing it to stand. “Texas does not dispute that its statute violates Supreme Court precedent.,” Garland said. “Instead, the statute includes an unprecedented scheme to, in the chief justice’s words, quote, ‘insulate the state from responsibility’, close quote.”

The Justice Department argues the Texas abortion law unlawfully infringes on the constitutional rights of women. “It is settled constitutional law that ‘a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,” the lawsuit reads. “But Texas has done just that.”

“Thus far, the law has had its intended effect, because the statute makes it too risky for an abortion clinic to stay open, abortion providers have ceased providing services,” Garland said. “This leaves women in Texas unable to exercise their constitutional rights and unable to obtain judicial review at the very moment they need it.”

Federal officials are also concerned other states could enact similar laws. “If another state uses the same kind of provisions to deprive citizens of their constitutional rights and in particular to deprive their citizens of the ability to seek immediate review, we will bring the same kind of lawsuit,” Garland said.

Community Rating

Community ratings are revealed after you rate the story.

lock

Watch the video to unlock rating

Rate the bias

Keep us honest! Let us know if you thought this video was neutral or biased.

Comments are still pending approval. Rate this story to add your own thoughts below.